Last updated: May 25. 2014 7:44PM - 1582 Views

Xris Kessler filming for The CARE Project
Xris Kessler filming for The CARE Project
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The CARE Project (TCP) recently announced that it is the recipient of a major grant from the Oticon Foundation based in Denmark. The funding for this project will allow TCP to provide training, direction and implementation in ten EHDI (Early Hearing Detection and Intervention) programs in the U.S.

Johnnie Sexton, Au.D., founded The CARE Project in 2008. Dr. Sexton initiated a counseling program for parents and families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing, after chairing a panel discussion on the same topic at a national conference. A partnership with Xris Kessler, an artist and film maker, helped The CARE Project to evolve in 2009 as multimedia counseling and instructional materials for use with families and professionals developed. These materials related to the emotional and grieving process observed in families who had experienced the shock of learning their child has hearing loss or is deaf. TCP was launched nationally in March 2010 at the national Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Conference in Chicago and internationally in June 2010 at the International Newborn Hearing Conference in Italy. CARE achieved the official IRS 501 (c) 3 public charity status in January 2011.

Dr. Sexton is a native of Sampson County, growing up in Garland, and is the son of John and Fern Sexton. He is a graduate of Garland High School, earned his B.S. and M.S. at East Carolina University and his Doctoral Degree at Arizona Health Sciences/A.T. Still University. Dr. Sexton has been a pediatric audiologist now for over 35 years and has been instrumental in the establishment of school audiology services across North Carolina as well as designing the North Carolina newborn hearing screening program in all birthing hospitals. He is President of John E. Sexton & Associates, Inc., a private practice specializing in school services for 27 years.

The goal of this project is to provide professional training in adjustment counseling strategies for those individuals who provide services to families with children, birth to age 3 years, who are deaf and hard of hearing. In addition, this project is designed to provide direct counseling workshops for parents.

Pre and post workshop surveys will be completed for data analysis on the impact of TCP on participants. There will be two versions of the surveys: (1) parents’ survey, and (2) professionals’ survey. The design of the surveys will center on TCP goals related to social and emotional skill development ultimately resulting in the children reaching their full potential. This applies not only to the parents/families but to those professionals who provide services to the children as it brings about a greater sense of preparedness and comfort with adjustment counseling.

In addition, qualitative information will be gathered via film to document and highlight child, family, parental and professional journey stories to further exemplify TCP’s basic premise that shared experiences and active listening are key components to move forward emotionally and educationally to achieve maximum potential.

Based on the 3-year experience of the TCP workshops, it is predicted that TCP will soon impact all families and professionals addressing the needs of children who are deaf and hard of hearing across the U.S. with regard to providing and enhancing comfort, connectedness and community. TCP implementation has allowed for the establishment of permanent parent support groups that involve extended family members, family friends and caregivers, leaving a legacy of parent empowerment.

TCP provides a way to plant seeds around the world through a set of carefully designed and implemented tools. Once trained, TCP Partners are equipped to take the program to any and all regions of their respective geographic areas. Program growth and outreach. TCP can be replicated over and over again and on a much higher scale with the funding needed.

TCP has partnered with the North Carolina and Tennessee EHDI (Early Hearing Detection and Intervention) Programs and other agencies in the U.S. to provide TCP training for professionals serving children, birth to 3. These efforts have resulted in regional parent support groups, staff development training for agencies serving these children and their families, as well as providing a training/educational module for university programs.

There is expressed interest on the part of a number of state EHDI programs in having TCP training and materials as tools for their use in enhancing counseling skills among professional staff as well as providing direct services to children and families and funding has been a significant issue.

The grant will also fund two graduate assistantships.

For more information about The CARE Project, visit www.thecareproject.com.

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